Obtaining a Patent

In the United States, a patent is obtained on an invention only after a patent application is filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent application is a complex document that is both highly technical and very legalistic. Some have called the art of patent drafting one of the most difficult tasks in the U.S. legal system. After the application is filed, and after a short wait (usually between twelve and twenty-four months), a patent examiner will evaluate the application to see if the application meets the requirements for patentability. If not, the examiner will reject the application in an office action. The applicant is allowed to amend their application and file arguments in response to the office action (the process of interacting with the examiner is called "prosecuting" the patent application). If the examiner is convinced, the application will be allowed and the patent will issue upon the payment of an issue fee. Overall, one should expect to spend between $10,000 and $25,000 to obtain a patent in the United States.

A detailed discussion on the process for obtaining a patent in the United States is set forth in the following pages:

Patent Index